Taylor also wrote that the study offered a more universal approach to reversing diabetes compared to undergoing bariatric surgery, which can achieve Type 2 diabetes remission for some people, but "is more expensive and risky, and is only available to a small number of patients".
Researchers hope their results will prompt doctors and patients to treat diabetes by putting long-term weight loss methods at the forefront.
Of the 36 people who lost at least 15kg 86% reversed their diabetes.
In a one-year study involving 300 patients with type 2 diabetes and a BMI of 29-45, those randomised to an intensive weight management program lost an average of 10kg and 46% reverted to a non-diabetic state. More than half - 57% - of those who lost between 10 and 15kg - 28 - also went into remission. Almost half the people who underwent the diet saw their condition go into remission - providing the strongest evidence yet that diabetes can be eradicated by simply losing weight.
"DiRECT is telling us it could be possible for as many as half of patients to achieve this in routine primary care, and without drugs". He said: 'Many GPs will be able to think of personal examples where a patient with type 2 diabetes gets hold of their lifestyle by the scruff of the neck and manages to reverse their disease, so it is pleasing to see that this may be practical on a larger scale. "Rather than addressing the root cause, management guidelines for type 2 diabetes focus on reducing blood sugar levels through drug treatments". According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, type 2 diabetes accounts for around 90 to 95 percent of cases in adults. "Diet and lifestyle are touched upon, but diabetes remission by cutting calories is rarely discussed", Taylor told The Guardian.
The researchers said the high rates of reversal showed that weight management should take priority over anti-diabetes drugs as the first-line treatment for people with type 2 diabetes. "The big challenge is long-term avoidance of weight re-gain".
A follow-up study over the next four years will determine whether weight loss and remission are achievable long-term.
The trial, which is called the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT), builds on earlier work by co-lead investigator Prof.
The team previously confirmed that Type 2 diabetes is caused by excess fat within the liver and pancreas, and that consuming a very low calorie diet could restore normal glucose.
Dr Emily Burns, Diabetes UK acting head of research communications, said: 'Thanks to ground-breaking research like DiRECT we're beginning to change the conversation around Type 2 diabetes, and that's a conversation that Global Positioning System can have with their patients as well.